Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Federalism, is perhaps the greatest strength within our political system.  While not an issue this past election, it always bothers me when people who fail to understand the structure of American government demand we end the electoral  college.  The electoral college is a huge part of American federalism.  It insures the big states never decide an election.  It is rarely discussed but had New Hampshire voted the same way as the rest of New England and the general northeast, Al Gore would have become president.  These three electoral votes decided the direction of the US for 8 years, and in fact for probably many years to come.

Gay marriage and legalization of marijuana became the key issues manifested through federalism this past election.  I understand and  respect that a lot of people believe gay marriage and the legalization of marijuana are the end of humanity as we know it.  But the states which moved forward on these issues in fact prove the strength in of sytem of government.

The role of federalism is a big part of the juridical methodology used by the Supreme Court when addressing so called expanded rights.  The Court always looks to national trends at the state level.The states are the great laboratory of change.  If Colorado succeeds in regulating marijuana sales, raising revenue, all while keeping addiction under control, its model will be considered by other states in creating a similar system.

I am not saying the law is good or bad.  I am saying it is a good thing that one or several states can experiment with something like legalization of marijuana.  It is better that we experiment at the state level first to work out the kinks, before establishing a national policy.  We may learn legalization is a big mistake, and have the evidene to prove it.  We may learn that legalization of marijuana is not the end of humanity.  In the end we have no way of knowing the truth, until a state experiments with the policy.

I love a learning momemt.  I hope a  few of my readers now better understand federalism and how the federal and state governments interact.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

While on this subject, do you know if there is a test for marijuana like there is for booze that can determind how much THC a person has in their system. Will a "cut-off" point be important, or is any amount considered detrimental to, let's say, driving?